DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP
Michael Sheen has made a cottage industry out of playing Tony Blair on the screen. The man who puts words in his mouth is Peter Morgan, the brilliant playwright and scriptwriter.
As long ago as 2003 in The Deal, he traced novice Blair as a youthful ruthless politician. Then, Sheen/Blair faced The Queen with an intimidating Helen Mirren buckling under his charms. And, at last that brings us to The Special Relationship in which Sheen plays opposite his American counterpart, Bill Clinton in the personality of Dennis Quaid.
Helen McCrory is around again as Mrs. Blair, caustic and perfect, but her counterpart is Hope Davis, playing Hillary Clinton as if the GOP National Committee had produced the movie.
Dennis Quaid is utterly delightful in his mimicry, downright charming in his downhome honeysuckle. As the Clintons, the Republican Party must be happy to have the Clintoons writ big.
If Mrs. Clinton reaches the White House, perhaps Mrs. Blair can return to Downing Street, and Morgan can give us another movie.
All the imitations are brilliant, but we maintain a soft spot for Sheen’s affable Blair impersonation. We don’t know that there will be another, with Morgan having covered all the ground without a sinkhole.
Sheen took time off from playing Blair to play David Frost in mortal friendship with Richard Nixon in the delightful Frost/Nixon. So, we know what we’re getting in these Morgan historical epics. It’s Beckett without the Murder in the Cathedral.
The idea that important and powerful people are just like us is comforting, though a bit unbelievable. As Scott Fitzgerald often said, the only thing different about the rich is their money.
Not quite, but Peter Morgan certainly goes as far as the man who created Gatsby.
If you like movies, try the reviews and previews of MOVIE MASHUP and MOVIES TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE. Both volumes are available in softcover and ebook from Amazon.com.